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View Poll Results: Do you think all guitars have unique personalities or a 'soul', so to speak?
Yes 75 53.96%
No 55 39.57%
Other (explain) 9 6.47%
Voters: 139. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2012, 08:26 PM   #1
T00DEEPBLUE
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Do you think that guitars have unique personalities or 'Souls'?

Of course, not in a literal sense, but in the same way that you can say a human being has a metaphorical 'soul'.

I think this would make an interesting debate because some people on this forum have conflicting opinions on the topic.

I have an inclination to think that a guitar does have a metaphorical 'soul'. Every single guitar, even if its the same model sounds very slightly different to one another as wood is a natural, inconsistent material. You notice things such as the flame on the top being slightly different or that one may have an imperfection somewhere that doesn't make it any less of a guitar, but instead gives the guitar almost a unique personality that makes the guitar special to you.

What i'm trying to say is:

Do you think that a guitar is nothing more than a piece of a dead tree with strings on it and growing emotionally attached to an instrument is stupid and irrational?

Or do you think guitars have more of a human quality in which they all have their little foibles and temperaments which give each guitar its own personality? And that having emotional sentiment to an instrument is understandable?
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:34 PM   #2
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If I paid good money for something I'd expect to be very protective of it. Soul or not soul.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T00DEEPBLUE
Do you think that a guitar is nothing more than a piece of a dead tree with strings on it and growing emotionally attached to an instrument is stupid and irrational?


Yes.
I never understood why people name their guitars and treat them like they're a pet or something.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
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I don't know that "soul" is the right word—I'd say it's more personality or character.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKHC
Yes.
I never understood why people name their guitars and treat them like they're a pet or something.

IMO i think its a bit of a narrow-minded view.

I think the reason why people get emotionally attached to their instruments is for the same reason they get emotionally attached to music in general.

On a cold, rational level, music is nothing more than a bunch of frequencies at different volumes and for different durations. And yet it makes all of us feel good, or feel sad, or feel liberated- that's why we wanted to become musicians in the first place.

If music makes us so emotional (nobody scientifically knows why music does this) when it is nothing more than a bunch of frequencies strung together, why not guitars?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine86
I don't know that "soul" is the right word—I'd say it's more personality or character.

My interpretation of what a 'soul' is (as it is a very subjective idea) goes hand-in-hand with 'personality'.

I think the reason why people in this thread are scared off from the idea of a 'soul' is because the word has been stigmatized by religion. That's not what i'm getting at.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:02 PM   #6
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I name my instruments and I get attached to them. I treat them like my children (wouldn't want them broken now, would I? I spend money on them!).

My Amps I don't, but my instruments, yeap.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #7
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^^ actually music, especially pop music with simple, repetitive melodies, has a scientific explanation for why we enjoy it. I won't go into it fully, but it has to do with our brain feeling a dopamine rush similar to uppers and sex except much less concrete and a lot more subjective when we are able to predict the melody in a song.
....anyway, I think guitar have more of a personality from the things that a luthier might not be able to replicate each and every time. Especially if a guitar is second hand. I feel like you get a bit of the essence of the previous player. When I got my Schecter used from guitar center, it took a while for it to feel like mine because in my mind it was fighting me because it wasn't "mine" yet.


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Old 10-04-2012, 09:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonny bb
^^ actually music, especially pop music with simple, repetitive melodies, has a scientific explanation for why we enjoy it. I won't go into it fully, but it has to do with our brain feeling a dopamine rush similar to uppers and sex except much less concrete and a lot more subjective when we are able to "predict" the melody in a song.

That's the thing isn't it? There is no concrete measurement or explanation behind why we 'feel' music and yet we do. And even if there was a concrete explanation, that wouldn't invalidate the idea of a guitar having a personality or a 'soul' because we still feel that emotional something from music whether we know why or not. There is no reason why that idea can't be elaborated onto guitars.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:15 PM   #9
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I see what you mean. I meant that someone might not like repetitive melodies while some people like deep bass and others like blast beats. It affects the brain the same, though you're right, there isn't a definitive "this is why we like music" explanation. I think it goes back to our early history as humans and digging chants and drum sounds. That's pretty much what pop music is now.
but that's a topic for another day
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKHC
Yes.
I never understood why people name their guitars and treat them like they're a pet or something.


While I don't think that individual guitars have soul or personality or anything, my guitars do have names. That I refer to them as. Only in my head though.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:20 PM   #11
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I dont play the same on two different guitar, even if they would have same pick ups. Just the look and the feeling of the neck makes me play diffently
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:41 PM   #12
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I wouldn't call it a 'soul', but differents models have differents vibes.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:56 PM   #13
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I think the "soul" of the guitar comes down to if you put your heart and soul into the music you play...I think a 180$squire can have soul if you put your soul into the playing.Damn this while post sounded cheesey:/
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T00DEEPBLUE
Do you think that a guitar is nothing more than a piece of a dead tree with strings on it and growing emotionally attached to an instrument is stupid and irrational?

This. Some people become emotionally attached to cars, collectible toys, fictional characters, ect.. It's ok if you realize and accept the truth that it's not as "human" as you perceive. Otherwise it's kinda creepy and can't possibly be too healthy.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:14 PM   #15
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I think they do have a soul, which makes more attached to them.

I can't play a song the same way on different guitars. And I always thought that a guitar chose you and not the opposed. When I walk up in a guitar shop (they are pretty small where I live), I try all of their guitars, except those that I already tried. I take one and I play. I can play on it for 10 seconds and it feels like shit, then take the next one beside it and I could play that guitar for hours and hours. I know that the electronics/material makes a lot of differences, but I think there is more. Where I bought my Hagstrom, there were 3 Ultra Swede. A black one, a red one and the Nitro edition (which I bought). I tried the 3 of them, and they all played differently ( not a huge difference, but enough to feel it). The best one was the Nitro (not because of the design, I actually preferred the black one design wise) for me. It plays like dream, even though they all had the same material.

And also, I would never modify one of my guitar, except for a project that I will do (a Bare Knuckle pickup on a Hello Kitty guitar XD), for the simple reason that I think it loses it's vibe, even if it sounds better. I also don't like to play on used guitars, because it just doesn't play like it is MY guitar. My best friend has the EXACT same Damien Elite 8 that I have, and his guitar doesn't feel as good as mine in my opinion.

And I do give them names, it just give them even more uniqueness. I feel like there is only 1 Oscar Schmidt by Washburn OX10 like mine, only 1 Schecter Damien Elite 8 like mine and only 1 Hagstrom Ultra Swede like mine. It's just how I think it is.

TL;DR : Yes.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:22 PM   #16
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Ive noticed this a fair bit and have thought about it a fair bit, especially when it comes to my PRS.

I dont think I personally would describe it as a soul but when a serious guitar player find a guitar that suits them in a lot of ways, theres like a bond/connection. this sounds cheesy and cliche but its like at that point its not just a guitar, its an extension of yourself. when you have that, it isnt just about writing and playing guitar anymore, its like a new level.

the best way I can put it is this: you know how when you decide to get up and walk, its a semi conscious decision but you're not conscious of every muscle moment, just the general overall movement? its a similar thing, where you dont think about fretting notes but letting the music breathe from your guitar. dont know if anyone else sees it that way

btw it doesnt have to happen with a 3000$ instrument. Ive seen it happen to guys with like 300-400$ guitars to. it can happen with any guitar at any price point IMO
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:26 PM   #17
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There's going to be small differences in all guitars no matter what. They can't all be made the exact same way down to the smallest detail. In that way, yes there's always a small level of uniqueness in every single guitar no matter how much effort is made to make a guitar exactly like another one. I don't quite see the word soul fitting your description, but that's based off of my own definition of what a soul is. A soul isn't a real thing anyway, so I don't like using the term, except for when making fun of gingers of course.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:33 PM   #18
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It's not that guitars themselves have a soul, it's that they GAIN a soul through the constant hours you put into them. They simply become an extension of who you are as a person and as a musician. I tend to pick different guitars for different styles of music, just based on what I've put into the instruments themselves. For a metal tune/hard rock tune, I'll grab Cherri (my Washburn). For rock/pop, I tend to go with Archie, my Ibanez ARC model. Those guitars just sound the best to me in those genres
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hminh87
If I paid good money for something I'd expect to be very protective of it. Soul or not soul.

Pretty much this. I don't name any of my guitars, but I paid a bunch for them and have invested a lot of time and effort playing them. I value them as possessions, but I don't believe they have anything like a 'soul' other than that they sound different.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanthesheep

I dont think I personally would describe it as a soul but when a serious guitar player find a guitar that suits them in a lot of ways, theres like a bond/connection. this sounds cheesy and cliche but its like at that point its not just a guitar, its an extension of yourself. when you have that, it isnt just about writing and playing guitar anymore, its like a new level.


This. Soon as i pick up a guitar, i have a good idea if I will like it or not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dash-rendar
It's not that guitars themselves have a soul, it's that they GAIN a soul through the constant hours you put into them. They simply become an extension of who you are as a person and as a musician. I tend to pick different guitars for different styles of music, just based on what I've put into the instruments themselves. For a metal tune/hard rock tune, I'll grab Cherri (my Washburn). For rock/pop, I tend to go with Archie, my Ibanez ARC model. Those guitars just sound the best to me in those genres


This pat II. But i need that inital spark, even if it is tiny.

I also think strings add to this. When I put D'Addario's on my electric, it doesn't sound as good. When I put Ernie Ball's on, it comes to life. I know people who think the opposite of me, and I hear what they hear in their strings on their guitars.

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